Gregory Z30 ReviewSeptember 10, 2014
- Included rain cover
- Unbeatable ventilation
- Wide-mouth opening made for easy loading
- Amazing compression kept loads tight against the frame
- Curved frame placed most loads too far from my back
- Zippered main closure would not function if the pack was even slightly over-filled
Gregory’s venerable Z30 gets a nice update here with lighter fabrics and some nifty new features. We were puzzled by a few of the tweaks (compression-straps on the bottom?), but remain confident that this pack is still a great choice for fitness hikes and gear-heavy day-trips.
While carrying lighter loads, the Gregory Z30 felt rather stiff especially if I did much bending or twisting. While carrying heavier loads, it pulled me backward more than I would have liked. I appreciated the excellent ventilation, but would have preferred a closer-fitting, more flexible frame.
Even though Gregory was able to trim about 10-percent off the weight of the previous generation Z30, this pack still wasn’t all that light for its size.
The Z30’s robust CrossFlo suspension felt overbuilt and too stiff under normal loads (around 20 pounds), but really began to shine as our pack weight climbed above 30 pounds. Desert hikers carrying obscene amounts of water (lots of weight, not a lot of bulk) should love this but I wished for just a little more volume. The main bag could not be over-stuffed and the compression strap configuration limited my ability to add bulkier items to the pack’s exterior.
With 10 separate compartments (including the reservoir sleeve), this pack offered plenty of segregated stash-spots for all of our small stuff. And although the darker colored Z30’s may not allow for quite as much interior visibility, my sample in Solar Yellow was positively radiant inside!
I generally struggled to find anything that wasn’t well placed or cleverly designed on this pack. Its adjustments and ergonomics were very good throughout, though its frame is probably a better fit for Gregory’s Z40 and Z55 packs.
The Z30 is reasonably priced for this category, and would be an especially good value for day hikers who typically carry dense, heavy loads in hot weather.